History of the Olympic torch relay including all its good and bad times

It takes place once every two years, around the time it usually takes for me to get a pay stub — emphasis on stub — for writing one of these articles: the Olympics. The event comes as a reminder when people all of a sudden start getting into fistfights on the street over badminton medal hopefuls.

For a quick review, the Summer Olympics sports are characterized by those events that were largely conceived in an era when dressing like Mr. Peanut was popular. The sports of the Winter Games were, by and large, borne out of inebriated bets: Why any sober individual would compete in a sport called skeleton is beyond the scope of my imagination. One would think finishing alive would be the priority, with the medals being fussed over once a chiropractor has examined the wreckage.

A discussion on the Olympics themselves is best left to a later date. (Check back in a month.) What concerns this writer is the continuing of a tradition that is rooted in antiquity. No, not the outbreak of plague in the athletes’ village, but the biannual tradition of a torch relay to mark the beginning of the Games.

The Olympic Flame is the symbol of the event. In ancient Greece, it was kept burning throughout the duration of the event and even sometimes afterwards, as evidenced by the members of the 1972 U.S. basketball team. There have been many notable memories surrounding the Olympic torch, some good and, of course leave to me to point them out, the not so good.

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